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Howard Jones uk folk clubs high standard (356* d) RE: uk folk clubs high standard 06 May 19

"Where are the half-dozen weekly programmes folk - Bert's Programmes, the ones I mentioned above ?" Now you seem to be harking back to a golden era few of us can remember, although of course I am just a mere youth in my mid-60s. All I can remember is Folk on Friday/Folk on 2, with another hour-long programme shared with country music. I also remember Folkweave, which recorded live performances in the clubs (I even appeared on one) but I think that was instead of, rather than as well as, one of the other shows. The Spinners had a TV show, and the Dubliners and Steeleye Span made it onto Top of the Pops. But that was 50 years ago when folk music was, briefly, part of mainstream popular culture.

We still have an hour of folk on one of the main radio channels, plus other programmes from time to time. I'm no huge fan of the Folk Awards but they do bring folk to wider attention, and its just possible some casual viewers might then take more of an interest. Would I like there to be more folk on TV and radio? Of course, but then the radio is no longer how people listen to music, they listen on their phones instead. There is a vast resource of folk music instantly available online.

"Where are the folk courses?" Apart from a full programme throughout the year at Halsway Manor, regular courses at C# House, Folkworks, the Soundworks events near Sheffield? ... I could go on. This weekend I am going to a weekend devoted to melodeon tuition, the following weekend there is one for concertinas. In June there is the Traditional Tunes and Popular Airs one-day conference in Sheffield. These are just a few examples, there are many more, and that's before we get onto festival workshops or the formal university courses.

You really don't have the first idea what goes on over here, do you?

No one is saying things couldn't be better, and no one is pretending the folk scene is as strong as it was up to about 30 years ago. But it's still here, it's active, young people are getting involved, and there's some great music. It has a bright future.

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